Maintaining healthy friendships and relationships is easier said than done!
Making new friends and maintaining existing relationships can be challenging in any phase of life, especially when you’re in college. This is a time when you’re exploring a new world, new opportunities, meeting new people, and trying to strike a balance between academics and social life. Sounds pretty harsh, right?
Yes – starting college is exciting when you have a hopeful heart full of vibrant colours. You expect your college life to be filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities, including meeting new people of different backgrounds and navigating friendships.
You may remember how some of your fellows made dozens of friends so enchantingly on their first day at college that it might have made you believe that making friends may come naturally to them, but it is tricky for you. But believe us, navigating friendships is an ‘Art,’ and you can be an ‘Artist’ too. All you need is to learn to navigate friendships in college and maintain healthy relationships beyond college.
In this blog, we’ll explore some effective strategies for navigating friendships and maintaining healthy relationships in college. Ready to befriend all those pretty faces?
Tips to Maintain Healthy Relationships
You can apply these tips to all kinds of relationships: friendships, family and work relationships, and romantic partnerships:
1. Communicate Openly and Honestly
You hear: Communication is the key – to any relationship, and college friendship is no exception. Yes, it is the key. However, you must understand this is different for everyone. One thing that doesn’t sound offensive to you may offend others. So, here comes effective communication!
It’s vital to be open and honest with your friends, especially when it comes to your feelings and boundaries. If something – your friend said or did to you – bothers you, it’s better to address it sooner rather than later. But you definitely don’t need to be angry or lose your temper. Communicate your concerns calmly and respectfully. Likewise, if your friend is upset with you, listen to their perspective calmly and try to find a solution together.
2. Be Yourself
Just be yourself and embrace your true self – one of the most significant things you can do to maintain your relationships in college. It may sound cliché, but it’s true.
You don’t have to be someone you’re not just to fit in with a specific group. This won’t bring you peace, and you’ll be bound to play a double role. It’s really exhausting and ultimately not sustainable. Instead, find people who accept and appreciate you for who you are. Finding someone who matches your vibe may take time, but it is worth it.
3. Respect Each Other’s Boundaries
Boundaries are meant to be respected. Everyone has different boundaries, and it’s essential to understand and respect your friends’ personal space and boundaries.
If your friend feels uncomfortable doing something or going somewhere, don’t push them to do it. This shows you value your friend’s comfort and respect their feelings and opinions. It creates a safe and comfortable environment where everyone feels respected and heard. Similarly, saying no is okay if you don’t feel comfortable doing something or going somewhere.
4. Find Common Ground
One of the great ways to build and maintain healthy relationships in college is to find common ground with your friends. Finding shared interests and activities you can do together encourages developing a long-lasting friendship. This can be anything from joining the same gym, playing a sport, watching a movie or TV show, or exploring a new hobby.
Having common ground creates a sense of camaraderie and fortifies the bond between you and your friends. Plus, it gives you something fun to do together and creates lasting memories.
5. Be a Good Listener
When your friends come to you with a problem or concern, give them your full attention and ensure them that you’re fully present and engaged. You can put away distractions like your phone or computer and focus solely on the conversation.
Don’t interrupt your friend or try to finish his sentence – especially when he’s trying to explain something personal or important. Not only is it rude, but it might also make him feel like his thoughts and feelings are being underestimated.
Interrupting someone while talking is never a good idea, whether it’s a physical or mental health issue or something else. Giving your friend your full attention and letting them speak without interruption is crucial. This allows them to express themselves fully and feel heard and validated.
6. Don’t Hesitate to Apologise
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes occasionally. When you do mess up, it’s important to apologise and take responsibility for your actions. This shows your friend that you value their feelings and are willing to put effort into the relationship.
Whenever you’re apologising, be sincere and specific about what you’re sorry for. Don’t make excuses or shift the blame onto someone else. Take ownership of your mistakes and work towards making things right.
7. Make Time for Your Friends
College life can be busy, but making time for your friends is important for maintaining the relationship. This means prioritising your friends and setting aside time to hang out and catch up.
Even if you can’t meet in person, you can still stay connected through phone calls, texts, or video chats. There are many social apps for staying connected – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, and many more. You can tag your friends there or share memes to laugh together, check up on them or stay in touch. Making time for your friends shows that you value their friendship and are willing to invest time and energy into the relationship.
8. Give Space When Needed
While it’s important to be there for your friends, it’s also important to give them space when they need it. If your friend seems distant or withdrawn, ask if they’re okay. If they show that they need space by any gesture, give them time and space to work through whatever they’re going through.
9. Embrace Differences
Embracing differences is important when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships. In college, you will meet people from all walks of life with different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. It’s important to respect these differences.
10. Last But Not Least – Have Fun!
Don’t forget to have fun! Enjoying your friendships and making the most of your time together is exciting. Try new things, go on adventures, and capture your memories in photographs.
Having fun and enjoying your friendships can create a positive and healthy environment for your relationships to flourish!